CLEARWATER BEACH - When the Clearwater Beach Association board reconvened after a summer hiatus on Sept. 3 at the Beach Recreation Center, members heard important messages from representatives of several city departments.
Police Lt. David Dalton delivered his monthly update on beach activity and concluded with a familiar reminder, “Lock your cars.”
Tracy Squitieri, of the Clearwater Police Communication Center, immediately left the room. She returned a few minutes later, as if offering proof that the message is never too timeworn, and confessed that she had gone out to lock her car.
After that amusing introduction, her presentation allowed some insight into what happens when an emergency call is received. As a 24-year veteran of the department and supervisor for two years, she has discovered that “some of the best information comes from citizens.” She shared tips for making the process more efficient.
When describing a person to police, go top to bottom, noting the height, weight, hair, any facial hair, clothing and shoes, for example. When describing a vehicle, note the color; the style, two- or four-door; the type, van, semi, truck; and any other features, such as tinted windows, signage or bumper stickers. Even a partial license plate number can be valuable, as is the direction of travel.
“The more information you can give, the better,” Squitieri advised. “More, more, more,” she urged, as the officers will “ask, ask, ask. Ultimately, it's what keeps them and you safe.”
Anonymity of a tipster's name and telephone number can be assured. While both emergency and non-emergency calls are received at the same location, the latter may be transferred to the police department.
“If in doubt, call 911,” she said.
Squitieri issued some guidelines: Call 911 if someone's life, safety, health or property is in immediate jeopardy. This includes most crimes, suspicious persons or vehicles, fights, people with weapons, or if a response is needed from the fire department or paramedics.
Direct non-emergency calls to (727) 562-4242, such as when the crime happened earlier and suspects aren't still present, as with thefts, vandalism or trespassers, or for questions. For information, dial 411. For other concerns, Squitieri provided her weekday contact number: (727) 562-4239.
For information on recycling, call (727) 562-4920 or visit www.myclearwater.com/domoreblue, advised the next guest speaker. Kattrina Miller, recycling specialist with Clearwater's Solid Waste/Recycling Department, told how the new single-stream recycling program will allow many more items to be re-used instead of trashed, thus saving both resources and dollars.
Up to 75 percent of the old black barrel contents are estimated to be recyclable.
Distribution of the new 90-gallon blue barrels began this week in the Countryside area and will be delivered to each residence now using the soon-to-be-obsolete, 18-gallon yellow bins. People can recycle those too, if they like, by placing them in their new blue barrel for pickup.
All plastics, excluding Styrofoam, bags or wrap; glass bottles and jars; cardboard; beverage cartons; empty aerosol, aluminum and steel cans; and newspapers can go into the blue barrel — all without sorting.
But electronics, paint cans, ceramics and household glassware, light bulbs, clothing and toys cannot. Household garbage and yard waste will continue as before.
Oldsmar, Dunedin, Safety Harbor and some unincorporated areas of Pinellas County already have a similar recycling system in place.
In Clearwater, the new recycling operation will begin Sept. 30. Its implementation will allow a reduction in the number of routes and days of service, but no lay-offs are planned, said Mike Pryor, who oversees the city's recycling program. He expected the recycling collection day for the beach community to be Thursday, currently the same as for yard waste.
On Oct. 1, Frank Dame is scheduled to address the beach association regarding Clearwater Marine Aquarium's plan to build a new facility on city-owned, which will go before voters in a November referendum. Dame is the aquarium's executive vice president and chief operating officer.
The association's fall picnic in the park is set for Oct. 26. Board meetings are held at the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center, 69 Bay Esplanade, beginning at 6 p.m. and are open to the public.